The UK definition and legal requirements for a gun or pistol to be classed as INERT and thus exempt for requiring a firearms licence are contained in the Home Office document ; Guidance_on_Firearms_Licensing_Law_April_2016_v20
Basically you can make a reproduction of a gun or pistol and make it INERT and exempt provided that;-
1) it is based on a design that predates 1870 – so in practice nothing breech loading .
2) Is unable to be fired in any way.
3) Cannot be modified to fire with the skills and tools that a normal person may have for the construction and repair of his/her house – i.e with basic DIY skills and tools.
If you build a pistol or gun, that doesn’t meet all of these 3 requirements you will, if caught with it in the UK, face a long MANDATORY prison sentence – there is no effective defence and the police are really hot on this.
In building this pistol I inserted and welded a length of 1/2 hardened steel rod into the breechblock that would prevent the chamber from being loaded, and would be too difficult to drill out with normal DIY tools. To be on the safe side, I welded the breech plug into the barrel so it can’t be unscrewed.
Note – although I’ve referred to this pistol as an inert pistol, it is, technically still an antique as its based on an original barrel and still has the original proof marks on the underside, and indeed some of the furniture is also original, so its stricly a restoration and reconstruction project, but I nevertheless made sure it complies with the requirements for being legally INERT …….
I need a decent looking (antique) flintlock that isn’t shootable – i.e. it has to be without a touchhole and not easily convertible to fire – to take into schools as a demonstration for historical topics. As long as it can’t be fired I would feel OK flashing off a pinch of powder as a demonstration, but while I’m happy to take an antique into a class and let the kids handle it, I draw the line at flashing one off. I nearly bought an Inert pistol from Kranks but then realised I had just made a lock – the Dolep lock ( see post) – that I didn’t intend to use seriously, and had a roughly shaped pistol stock blank that wasn’t quite right for a decent repro. So I have gathered up a few parts to see what I can do. I found a single old and very rusty twist barrel from a double percussion gun and removed the breech plug (called the ‘hut’). I have always been astonished that however old and rusty a gun is, once the initial joint of the hut in the barrel is broken, the thread will turn out to be in excellent shape………